The State of Britain

The East Midlands posts average 2018 growth, Derby has the third fastest growing local economy in the UK but South and West Derbyshire underperforms, a big drop in EM’s unemployment

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Following its first publication of quarterly GDP estimates for the regions in September, the ONS has now published its 2018 full year estimate of economic activity by UK country, region and local area using gross domestic product.

The figures showed the EM economy grew by 1.1% in 2018, down from the 2017 growth rate of 1.6%. This placed EM seventh (2017 ranking eighth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions.’

The UK and England growth rate in 2018 was 1.4%. Growth in Wales was 1.3%, Scotland grew by 0.9% and the Northern Ireland economy shrank by 0.5%.

London topped the 2018 table with growth of 2.0% whilst Northern Ireland was at the bottom.

Within the region, the Derby economy grew the fastest at 6.9%, followed by North Nottinghamshire at 2.7% and South Nottinghamshire at 2.5%. Across the UK, the highest annual growth of the 179 local areas was in Falkirk at 10.5%, Derby was third.

Two areas of the region saw their GDP decline in 2018. The worst performer was South and West Derbyshire at -5.1% followed by Nottingham at -0.6%. In UK terms, the lowest annual growth of sub national areas was in Mid and East Antrim at -10.1%.

GDP per head growth of 6.8% to £30,610 was seen in Derby but Nottingham was still top in the region at £34,472. GDP per head fell by 5.7% in South and West Derbyshire to £21,480 but despite growing by 2.2%, North Nottinghamshire posted the lowest GDP per head in the region at £21,284.

In terms of UK extremes, GDP per head was £395,309 in Camden and the City of London and £15,034 in Ards and North Down. These figures are a guide and are influenced by commuter flows.

In 2018, key drivers of the EM economy were information/communication at 10% and arts/entertainment and transport both at 4%. Those areas that did not perform well were mining which dropped by 3%, agriculture down by 2% and public administration/defence fell by 1%. Overall the services sector grew by 1.8% and construction by 0.5% but production fell by 1.2%.

The 2018 performance of the region’s enterprise partnerships was also highlighted by the ONS. Of the UK’s 45 development bodies, South East Midlands (Northamptonshire) was ranked 8th in the UK (2017 ranking 30th) with growth of 2.1%, with Leicestershire moving up the rankings from 32nd to 16th with growth of 1.7% and Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire moving up five places to 29th. With -0.3% growth, the region’s other LEP, Greater Lincolnshire, fell from 15th to 37th.

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in the EM fell by a whopping 25,000 to 90,000 between August and October 2019; the decrease of 1.0% was the best in the UK and took the overall rate to 3.7%. Northern Ireland had the lowest rate at 2.3% with the UK rate at 3.8%. The highest rate was 6.1% which was recorded in the North East.

The South West had the highest employment rate at 80.8% which compared with 77.3% in the EM. UK employment was estimated at 76.2%.

EM average property prices fell by 0.7% during October 2019 to £194,134, which took annual growth to 1.3%. In comparison, UK prices fell by 0.7% to £232,944, an annual growth rate of 0.7%.